(WGGB) — A recent study by a University of Tampa professor has raised debate over whether religious institutions should pay taxes.
The study done by assistant professor of sociology, Ryan Cragun, found that by not taxing these institutions, the United States government could be losing $71 billion a year.
According to IRS exemption requirements, “charitable organizations [...] are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions,” which includes religious institutions due to the charitable services they provide to the community.
However, nontheists have long challenged these tax exemptions based on the grounds that they favor religious institutions. Nontheists believe this is a growing issue because more and more Americans are living outside of religious practice, making it unfair to tax all Americans to support religious institutions that only some of the population participates in.
Those who support the tax exemption cite the various ways religious institutions have benefited the community, including the operation of soup kitchens and shelters and other donation drives and fundraisers they organize.
The authors of the study say the point of their research is not to completely revoke religious organization tax exemptions. Instead, they feel the government should reconsider tax exemptions for religious or secular non-profits whose services the government would have to supply if those organizations disappeared.